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BLC Moving North to Monterey

Published July 28, 2008

MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—The Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and the Sea Otter Classic announced a three-year deal on Tuesday to hold the Association’s annual leadership conference in conjunction with Sea Otter’s popular consumer festival.

The two entities initially agreed to move the Bicycle Leadership Conference from San Diego to Monterey at this year’s Sea Otter, but recently hammered out details of the deal, including bringing in Lance Camisasca of Lifeboat Solutions as conference director for next year.

Frank Yohannan, president and chief executive officer of the Sea Otter Classic, hired Camisasca in July to head up the 2009 BLC as well as take on additional responsibilities with Sea Otter.

The conference will be held at Sea Otter’s host hotel, The Embassy Suites, from April 15 to 17. The Sea Otter Classic race and expo begins April 16 and runs through the 19th. The timing is meant to complement the event, which many bike suppliers already attend, not compete with it, said John Nedeau, president of the BPSA.

“I think we have the right construct in place to allow it to be a win-win,” Nedeau said.

The BPSA will determine conference topics and content, but the Sea Otter Classic team will handle the marketing, promotion and sponsorship for the event, as well as conference logistics like registration, concierge services and networking activities.

“It’s our objective to have the BLC fold in cleanly with all the activities during Sea Otter week keeping in mind it’s a separate conference and needs to have its own dedicated staff and we’re prepared to make that happen,” Yohannan said, adding that the Sea Otter will bring in support staff specifically for the conference.

In the past, the BPSA contracted Gluskin Townley Group to manage the BLC, but in moving the venue, thought it made most sense to take advantage of Sea Otter’s existing promotional machine, Nedeau said.

Nedeau said he anticipates holding the BLC at Sea Otter will broaden participation and lead the conference in a fresh direction.

“It’s an opportunity to leverage the industry network that comes to Sea Otter in a way we have not experienced with our traditional January or February summit,” he said.

For more on the deal to move the BLC to Sea Otter, be sure to read the August 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

—Nicole Formosa

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